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To teach or not to teach

Bonjour tout le monde!

I recently decided, or thought I decided, what I want to do with my life. After a meeting with one of my French professors (it was mandatory, I did not deliberately set this up) I felt very inspired and excited to be a French immersion teacher. She told me that my french is at a good level and that there is a high demand for French teachers in BC. I was excited that she thought my French was good since I’ve been out of practice for a while and was nervous that I wasn’t as advanced as I should be at this point. I have also always been interested in teaching but never totally sure about it. The main perk in my eyes, as horrible as it sounds, is the holidays. I know, most people become teachers because they just love kids and want to work with them, and its very wrong to want a job just because of the amount of time you WONT have to actually be doing it, but come on. Who doesn’t want two weeks at Christmas and every summer off?! That being said, I do like the idea of actual teaching, I promise. My desire to have summers to travel or relax or dabble in other fun activities is definitely a reason, but I really do think teaching would be a very rewarding and enjoyable job for me. I know that I want to teach languages, either French or English, but the next big question is what grade. I don’t want to teach the very youngest grades; that seems like a total nightmare to me. Especially because I want to have a lot of kids of my own one day and I can guarantee you I won’t want to come home from a hectic day with 6 and 7 year olds just to be surrounded by even more of them. I obviously (hopefully) will enjoy my own kids’ presence more, but you get the idea.

So I crossed out grades K-4 and thought I could teach anywhere from grade 5 and up. Ideally, I think 7,8,9 is the best to teach as far as the material, but apparently junior high kids are just terrible… So I just don’t know. I think it would be fun. But then again I don’t have a back bone and have been told that kids at that age will walk all over you if you’re not very firm with them, and I’ve never been firm with anyone in my entire life. Once, I ended up with a full time job when I only applied for, and explicitly stated, that I wanted a part time position. After working there for about a week, my manager said to me “hey we actually need you to work 5 days a week, that’ll be ok right?” and I just said yes. I didn’t want to say yes at all. I hated the job. But I couldn’t say no. It is my fatal flaw. And then I went home and cried. And continued to work 5 days a week for the rest of the summer. Ah, the joys of being an insecure pushover who can’t stand up for herself to save her life. Anyway, due to this lack of a back bone, I’m not sure I would be much better with high school. And high school seems a lot more stressful as a teacher because you are actually teaching important material that kids might go on to use in real life. Ha, that’s a joke. The only valuable thing I learned in high school was how to write a decent essay. Which certainly is handy in university, but other than that, I don’t think I’ll ever need to know how to find “x” on a graph. Damn you, Math 30.

So… here I am. As soon as I think I know what I want, there’s a million other little decisions to make that I’m completely unsure of. One step forward, two steps back. Life is so hard to figure out! To make matters worse, just after I had finally “decided” on being a French teacher, I got an email from my English professor saying that my TA (tutorial assistant, who marks our essays) told her my last paper was very strong and showed great promise. It made me so happy. But then it made me so sad; just when I finally thought I knew what to do with my life, the universe tells me maybe I should go a different route! Not that that email specifically implied that I must not be a French teacher and should absolutely stick to English, but it made me think maybe this is something I’m actually good at and could pursue. I feel like I’m back to square one again.

I do enjoy writing, hence this ridiculous little blog, but I’m not sure what to do with that. I don’t know that I would be a great journalist (plus that seems to be a dying occupation), I don’t see myself writing novels (at least not any time soon), and the thought of writing boring old reports for companies I’m not even interested in doesn’t appeal to me in the least. Now I’m sure there are many other things you can do with writing, but these are the only things that really come to mind. And don’t you forget that journalists don’t get two months off for the summer… They also probably don’t make as much as a teacher, and teachers don’t even make that much, so that’s saying something. But it’s not all about the money, obviously, and I really do want a career that I will enjoy and be able to wake up in the morning not dreading the day ahead. I don’t want to spend my life looking forward to 5 o’clock, or the weekend, or my two weeks of vacation a year. Then again, who does?

The sad truth is that that is the reality for many people. We work hard all through high school so we can get into university, then we kill ourselves trying to maintain a good GPA and graduate with the best degree we can, just to find a decent job that pays enough so we can have a house and food and a family and the occasional holiday, so we can retire comfortably and look back on our lives and think ‘man, I’m so glad I worked so much.’

I read an article recently that studied what people regretted most on their death beds and for the majority of people, it was working too hard. They regret rushing through life always trying to meet a goal, always trying to make more money, to have more possessions, but look back and realize none of it truly mattered. If you didn’t thoroughly enjoy the little moments along the way, then you didn’t really live at all. No one dies and wishes they had worked more hours. No one dies and wishes they had made more money. They die and wish they had slowed down and really, truly enjoyed living.

Now I know we have to work to survive. That is the world we live in. And I’m not saying we should all be lazy and just do nothing all day. But it’s a little sad that doing what you want to do and doing what you need to do to survive don’t always line up. For me especially, I get really down about life when I have a job that I really dislike. It is hard for me to completely separate work from my personal life, and if I am dreading going to work the next day, it brings my whole mood down. I don’t want to live a life where every morning I roll out of bed already counting the hours until I will be home again.

Now this is getting too long and too deep for my liking. I prefer to talk about stupid little mishaps in my awkward everyday life than to get into deep, thoughtful topics. That’s too weird to be posting online for the world to see. If it’s 1AM and someone starts questioning the significance of our tiny lives in this unknown universe, oh do I ever like to get deep in thought about that. But on this little corner of the internet, we will stick to my trivial daily struggles as I attempt to navigate my way through life.

Please tell me what to do. To teach or not to teach. That is the question.

But seriously. Help. Plz.




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